Valeri Nichushkin - Getty Images

 

Valeri Nichushkin, RW

Shoots: L

Height: 6-4

Weight: 196

Born: 1995-03-04

Hometown: Chelyabinsk, RUS

Drafted: 2013 by Dallas Stars, 10th Overall

 

 

 

 

Observations:

 

February 2014 - Nichushkin and the Stars came out of the gates flying in their return from the Winter Olympic break by defeating the Hurricanes 4-1 at home on Feb. 27. After seeing fairly minimal playing time in Sochi with Team Russia, Nichushkin appeared anxious to get back into the swing of things in a much larger role with the Dallas Stars. Logging in 14:49 of ice time, he recorded three shots and plus-one overall rating alongside forward Tyler Seguin and captain Jamie Benn on the team's top scoring line. Striking first just over three minutes into the opening frame, Nichushkin set up Seguin for a one-timer from the left circle that beat Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin, marking his 16th assist on the season. The 18-year-old currently ranks tied for third on the team in points (29) and remains among the NHL's top eight in rookie scoring this season. Holding sole position of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, Thursday marked the Stars' fourth win in the last five games, having yet to lose a regulation game since Jan. 27 (4-0-2). Clayton Bailey

 

February 2014 - Just twenty-four hours after being listed a healthy scratch by Russian head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, Nichushkin ended up making his Winter Olympics debut with the host nation against Team Slovenia on Thursday. Scoring just under four minutes into the third and final frame, he beat goaltender Robert Kristen to put the Russians up 4-2, marking his first career Olympic tally. Registering three shots in 10:29 of ice-time, he was named the third star of the game behind teammates Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Making a case for a much bigger role with Team Russia than we had originally anticipated, Nichushkin appears to be a lock for the Russian lineup as they prepare to take on the American's on Saturday. Clayton Bailey

 

February 2014 - Team Russia head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov announced today that Nichuhskin will be listed as a healthy scratch for the opening contest in Sochi's Olympic hockey tournament against Team Slovenia. “We plan that Svitov and Nichushkin won’t play," Bilyaletdinov said. "I think we’ll start with eight defensemen.” Coming off tallying the game-winning goal for Dallas that surged the Stars into the 8th and final playoff spot before the NHL's Olympic break, the 18-year rides a hot hand into Sochi in hopes to make his Winter Olympics debut as the team's youngest player on the roster. The host nation begins pursuit for their first Olympic gold medal on Thursday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. Clayton Bailey

 

February 2014 - Nichushkin improved to 6th in NHL rookie scoring with a third period game-tying goal against San Jose on Feb. 5. After trailing the Sharks 1-0 through forty-six minutes of play in San Jose, the 18-year old received a pass in the slot from defenseman Trevor Daley and beat goaltender Alex Stalock to tie the game. Despite falling to the Sharks 2-1 in overtime, Nichushkin's 12th career goal earned the Stars a crucial point in the standings that leaves them just a game out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Logging in over 16 minutes of ice-time, Nichushkin's chemistry with forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, incredibly, just keeps getting better. Clayton Bailey

 

January 2014 - Nichushkin picked up his third career multiple point effort in the Stars' 7-1 rout at home against the Maple Leafs on Jan 23. Recording two goals and one assist, he became the fourth player in franchise history to score two goals in a game at the age of 18, and first to do so since the relocation from Minnesota to Dallas (Elias). Snapping a six game pointless drought dating back to Jan. 6, Nichushkin has steadily seen an increase in ice time as he logged 14:02 on the team's top scoring line, marking his most since Jan. 9. Clayton Bailey

 

January 2014 - Tallying three points points over his last eleven games, head coach Lindy Ruff listed Nichushkin as a healthy scratch in both of the Stars' road losses to Minnesota and Nashville. Via the Stars' official website, Ruff mentioned that his Russian rookie may of just needed some time to pump the breaks. “He was playing really well and maybe the schedule caught up with him,” said Ruff. “He’s 18, and for him it is a mental grind. This is just part of his progression.” Nichushkin was held pointless in his last five games entering his return to the Stars' lineup Wednesday night. Despite being placed back on the team's top scoring line alongside forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, Nichushkin's struggles continued as he was held to zero points and zero shots on goal in the Stars' 4-0 win at home against the Wild. Clayton Bailey

 

January 2014 - Nichushkin has been selected by Team Russia to participate in February's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The 18-year old ranks third on the Stars and fifth among NHL rookies in point scoring this season (22 points, 41 games). Clayton Bailey

 

December 2013 - Nichushkin tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in the Stars' first four games to begin the month of December, including his first career four point night (one goal, three assists) in the Stars' 5-1 victory at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. He ranks tied for second among NHL rookies in assists (12) and third in plus/minus rating (+10). Recording just one assist with the man advantage this season, Stars coach Lindy Ruff would like to see more production from the 18-year old on the NHL's second to least effective power play unit (11.8%). Clayton Bailey

 

November 2013 - Nichushkin recorded his first career NHL goal in Ottawa on Sunday, November 3rd against the Senators. The 18-year old rookie has tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in 14 appearances to start the season, while logging an average of over 16 minutes of ice time in the last five games. Clayton Bailey

 

July 2013 - The Stars announced they have signed Nichushkin to a three-year entry level contract valid through 2015-16. Nichushkin was selected 10th overall after appearing in 18 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL) where he recorded six points (four goals, two assists) and a plus-6 rating in 2013. He’s a power-forward with magnificent hands, NHL-ready size, and infinite long-term potential. Nichushkin has opted out of his contract with the KHL and is expected to spend the entire 2013-14 season in the NHL with the Stars. Clayton Bailey

 

May 2013 - Valeri Nichushkin announced May 22nd that he plans on playing in North America next season after getting out of his KHL contract with Dynamo (Moscow). This news is huge for a prospect of his talent considering the biggest question surrounding him was whether the Russian born forward would report to play in the NHL. He will get consideration for the upcoming draft as a top 5 selection. Brendan Ross

 

February 2013 - Moving his way up the draft boards is rangy pivot Valeri Nichushkin after an impressive showing for Russia at the 2013 WJHC. Nichushkin’s overtime goal in the bronze medal game sent Canada home without a medal for the first time in 14 years. Easily the top-ranked Russian forward in this draft class, Nichushkin has climbed his way up the ranks by impressing with the use of his sizeable frame, coveted net drive game and dangerous shooting arsenal. Nichushkin is a player with tons of raw offensive potential and this ranking reflects that. Whether or not the Russian factor comes into play at the draft, Nichushkin has top-10 skills. Brendan Ross

 

Fantasy Outlook: B+

 

Despite the inconsistency, Nichushkin's offensive emergence leaves us every reason to believe he's well worth the hype that comes with a Top 10 overall draft choice.

 

Footage:


Nichushkin scores to win the Bronze medal for Team Russia at the 2013 U20 WJC

 

 

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